Management

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    Shareholders and the choice between exploration and exploitation

Shareholders and the choice between exploration and exploitation

Companies are in a constant battle with one another to innovate and capture market share. As they do so, it is important for them to engage in two competing behaviours: exploration and exploitation.

Exploration is about discovering new opportunities and enhancing learning. This kind of activity is characterised by knowledge creation, risk taking, experimentation, and innovation. In contrast, exploitation leverages […]

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    Corporations must help eradicate Covid-19 and facilitate social change

Corporations must help eradicate Covid-19 and facilitate social change

Earlier this week, 30 chief executive officers of Canada’s largest corporations urged every leader in the country to immediately shift focus to the singular objective of slowing the pace of transmission of the coronavirus. By sharing four key actions, their companies have committed to and encouraging other organisations to do the same, they’ve reinforced the “new normal” for businesses […]

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    How the unions helped transform employment relations at France Télécom

How the unions helped transform employment relations at France Télécom

On December 20, 2019, the French courts found the former CEO of France Télécom and two executives guilty of ‘moral harassment’ of their employees. During what has been called ‘a social crisis’, more than 40 employees in two years committed suicide, directly blaming the company in their notes, taking their lives on the workplace; a technician stabbed himself in […]

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    Amidst the coronavirus chaos, businesses need resilience thinking

Amidst the coronavirus chaos, businesses need resilience thinking

When I started running the numbers at the end of January, I reluctantly began to draw my own conclusions regarding plausible future scenarios. I had a hard time convincing myself. I subsequently (re) learned that good old fashioned ‘denial’ is the first step of dealing with any crisis. As any good academic, I had written about it, but was […]

March 18th, 2020|Strategy|0 Comments|
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    Tough times call for transformations in leadership development

Tough times call for transformations in leadership development

How does leadership development need to change in the light of the turbulent and fast-changing economic, political and social environment organisations find themselves having to operate in? This was the questions global management network EFMD explored in a research project involving a special interest group of 12 member companies, including Bayer, L’Oreal, Nokia, Engie, Swiss Re and Siemens.

The group […]

March 16th, 2020|Strategy|0 Comments|
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    The sharing economy is thriving, but the work of volunteers is often overlooked

The sharing economy is thriving, but the work of volunteers is often overlooked

Airbnb’s open homes program aims to create a social impact by connecting hosts with refugees to support their integration. Uber claims that its car sharing makes cities cleaner. Whether and how the sharing economy helps to advance the agenda around sustainability and to address contemporary societal challenges has stirred important and often heated debates. For many the sharing economy […]

Are recruiting practices throwing away neurodiverse talent?

In their quest for talent, companies conduct hundreds of thousands of competency-based interviews each year. Despite some criticism, competency-based interviews are regarded by many companies as the best way to assess whether a job candidate would perform successfully in the position for which they interview.

Competencies represent a combination of knowledge, skills, abilities, attitudes and behaviours that enable an individual […]

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    Change and obliquity: how to achieve complex objectives through indirect means

Change and obliquity: how to achieve complex objectives through indirect means

“Those only are happy who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness… aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the way”

– John Stuart Mill

 How come so many change efforts in today’s unpredictable world fail to achieve their stated objectives – be they corporate turn-arounds, public-sector reform, or wider societal flourishing? I have […]

Just how dangerous is economics for management practice?

It is often argued that academic ideas have no real significance for the world around us. Academics may profess high ideals about changing the world but their influence upon reality is limited. But there is a school of thought that says ideas stemming from academia do matter. Indeed, it is claimed that certain ideas professed by academics can effect […]

February 19th, 2020|Economics, Management|1 Comment|

How consumers perceive sustainable products

When tire producers started launching recycled tires, truck drivers were sceptical. They didn’t trust the quality and assumed that there had to be a trade-off with the durability and effectiveness of the tires. Similarly, when there is a flu epidemic or pipes are clogged, consumers systematically choose the non-sustainable hand disinfectants and drain openers. Consumers are afraid that the […]

Reflections on the nature and meaning of teamwork

Teamwork is a complex social dynamic, at once a principle of optimal efficiency and an occasion of personal cooperation. We might visualise this complexity in terms of a vertical pursuit (the achievement of some collective goal) and a horizontal relationship (the cooperation among team members as they pursue the collective goal). The vertical is conceptually prior: teammates do not […]

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    Building your competitive strategy? It’s all down to methodology

Building your competitive strategy? It’s all down to methodology

In late 2019, headlines around the world trumpeted the collapse of global travel giant Thomas Cook. Amid news of stranded families and freshly-redundant airline pilots volunteering to bring people home for no pay, what most onlookers and pundits alike wanted to know was: what went wrong? How could an organisation with 19 million customers, 22,000 staff in 16 countries […]

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    Employees: the missing link between stakeholder capitalism’s pledges and metrics

Employees: the missing link between stakeholder capitalism’s pledges and metrics

On the eve of the World Economic Forum’s 50th annual meeting in Davos, I wrote about the need for well-intentioned corporations seeking to lead a new era of stakeholder capitalism to convincingly separate themselves from the also-ran. By the end of the week in Davos, I was pleased to see businesses race against each other to forcefully signal their […]

How successful leaders avoid predictable surprises

By now every reader drawn to articles like this will almost certainly have heard the acronym VUCA, so widely used these days. It was first used in 1987 and originates from the theories on leadership of Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus. It is also associated with use by the U.S. Army War College following the end the cold war. […]

February 3rd, 2020|Management|1 Comment|
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    Under pressure from consumers and employees, firms now compete for the most fragile commodity: goodwill

Under pressure from consumers and employees, firms now compete for the most fragile commodity: goodwill

The history of business is the history of human beings trading with each other; discovering efficiencies of scale and comparative advantage, creating surplus, investing capital, and building infrastructure. In its purest form, capitalism is a sort of social and cultural glue. It’s about markets and money, trade and competition, risk and reward. It’s about the allocation of resources to […]

Why word of mouth works better for niche products and ideas

Imagine you learn about a concert through social media. You saw a friend post that she is excitedly planning to attend. How do you decide whether you want to go? Does it matter whether the concert is a popular artist performing in a major arena or an indie band performing in a neighbourhood venue? The analysis in my paper […]

January 28th, 2020|Management, Marketing|0 Comments|

Make work fun again

In the summer of 2015, in a crowded beer garden in Barcelona, we talked about work – the work we were doing then. It was a rather sad conversation, because the bottom line was that our jobs were uninspiring at best. Work was making us anything but happy.

We weren’t frustrated with the work itself. It was interesting, challenging, and […]

Avoiding strategic surprises: beware of the lurkers!

Usually, we talk about two types of surprises in strategic projects: those that hit you like a flash out of a blue sky, and those that creep up on you, nudging you off track, bit by bit. Either type requires a specific approach to manage – efficient contingency plans and crisis response for the former, improved monitoring and detection […]

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    As firms collect their data, employees learn to game the system

As firms collect their data, employees learn to game the system

Organisations are increasingly turning to ‘people analytics’ – using vast amounts of data about their employees – to gain insights into their workforce and introduce evidence-based decision-making. Companies hope to use measures such as clicks, views, interactions and many other online operations to accurately capture employee performance on top, or even instead of, traditional performance evaluation systems that are […]

Signalling sincerity in stakeholder capitalism

Milton Friedman versus Klaus Schwab – it was a battle between two world views. In 1970, Friedman wrote his seminal essay on the role of the firm effectively arguing that the “business of business is business” and that wider stakeholder considerations can be value-destructive. In 1973, Klaus Schwab’s Davos Manifesto argued that management must also serve employees and society, […]